Microsoft New Zealand has found no evidence of software piracy by retailers in the Dunedin area, becoming the first investigative sweep across the country to not discover any infringements.
As a result of the investigation, Clayton Noble, Legal Counsel for Microsoft, says the findings are encouraging.
”Microsoft’s investigators are regularly sent throughout the country to carry out sweeps for unscrupulous retailers that sell non-genuine Microsoft software," Noble says.
"We are incredibly pleased with what we found this time - which was nothing.
“This is an extremely positive result that shows us consumers and retailers are becoming aware of the risks and consequences of pirated software. We hope future inspections in other regions will show a similar result.
“Microsoft investigated retailers in the Auckland area a year ago, where they found six retailers selling counterfeit software, leading to financial settlements with the sellers. To find this was not the case in Dunedin is very positive.
“Microsoft stops the sale of unauthorised software and takes action against the sellers because using non-genuine software carries serious risks for consumers. It can often contain spyware, malware and viruses, carrying risks from system downtime, loss of sensitive data or identity theft.
“There are some strains of counterfeit software products that contain hidden key-logging software that allows criminals to steal passwords, bank account details and other personal information that could be dangerous for the consumer in terms of security."
When purchasing software, Microsoft recommends consumers follow this ‘Buyer’s Checklist’ to ensure their software is genuine.
1. Are you buying from a known and reputable retailer/seller?
Buy from a retailer or seller you know and trust.
2. Is the software you are looking to purchase much cheaper than from other retailers?
The general rule of thumb is proven time and time again – if it seems too good to be true, it usually is.
3. Are you able to contact the seller after you receive the software?
Be wary if the seller is reluctant or won’t provide a phone number, address and other pertinent contact details.
4. Does the seller have satisfied and happy customers?
When buying online, always look for feedback from other customers. If there is negative feedback, steer clear.
5. What is the seller’s return policy?
Make sure there is a way to return the product, and make sure that you feel confident that your seller will be willing and able to help you with after-sales service if there is a problem with your product.
6. When buying online, are the photos in the advertisement of the actual software being sold?
Be wary of stock standard marketing photos that may not be of the actual software you are buying.
7. Can you physically check the product?
If you can, check the product thoroughly before you purchase it. Use the How to Tell website to help you tell if it is legitimate software. Always be wary of sellers who are reluctant to let you view the product.
8. Are you purchasing the correct license?
For example, if you use academic software and you are not a student, lecturer or teacher, you are in breach of the license.
9. Does the software have a genuine Certificate of Authenticity?
A Certificate of Authenticity is a label that helps you identify genuine software. This is a visual identifier that helps determine whether or not the software you are buying is genuine.